Overview: field artillery in operation Iraqi freedom.In an unprecedented campaign, V Corps units--the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized mech·a·nize
tr.v. mech·a·nized, mech·a·niz·ing, mech·a·niz·es
1. To equip with machinery: mechanize a factory.
2. ) (3d ID), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and elements of the 82d Airborne Division (plus FA from the 41st, 212th and 214th FA Brigades)--fought their way from the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border 21 March 2003 north and seized Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces in Baghdad in just 18 days with major combat operations ending three days later. The I Marine Expeditionary Force The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force is a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) of the United States Marine Corps primarily composed of the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and 1st Marine Logistics Group. (I MEF MEF Marine Expeditionary Force
MEF Metro Ethernet Forum
MEF Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas (Spanish)
MEF Mobile Entertainment Forum
MEF Middle East Forum (think tank) ) with its 1st Division (including the 11th Marines) simultaneously fought north from the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border to the southeastern part of Baghdad and seized Rasheed Airbase
SASO operations can occur in everything from natural disaster areas (earthquakes, storms and flooding) to insurgencies (SASO SASO Saudi Arabian Standards Organization
SASO Stability and Support Operations
SASO South African Students' Organisation
SASO Security And Stability Operations
SASO System Approach for Safety Oversight
SASO Security and Support Operations
SASO Save and Save Often ) to rebuild the nation of Iraq along with other combat units.
What many thought would be a long, arduous fight to topple Saddam Hussein's regime with the possibility of the enemy's using weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or turned out to be a swift victory with Coalition Forces moving farther and faster than any corps-sized force in history--some 1,000 kilometers from Kuwait to the Turkish border in the north. (See the map in Figure 1.)
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The FA supporting maneuver forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF OIF Operation Iraqi Freedom
OIF Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (French: International Organization of Francophonie)
OIF Office for Intellectual Freedom (American Library Association) ) proved to be the deciding factor in many of the conflicts--although the enemy artillery outnumbered and outranged the Coalition Force FA. The FA in OIF was the lowest ratio of artillery pieces-to-troops in war since before World War I. (See Figure 2 on Page 4.) Artillery fires came at a premium with lines of communications stretched from the Kuwaiti border to Baghdad, including ammunition resupply.
Figure 2: Coalition Force FA Weapons in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) during Major Combat Operations US Field Artillery in OIF 54 Paladin (155-mm) Self-Propelled Howitzers: 1-9 FA (18), 3d IN Div 1-41 FA (18), 3d IN Div 1-10 FA (18), 3d IN Div 62 M119 (105-mm) Towed Howitzers: 1-320 FA (18), 101st Abn Div 2-320 FA (18), 101st Abn Div 3-320 FA (18), 101st Abn Div 2-319 FA (8), 2d Bde, 82d Abn Div 110 M198 (155-mm) Towed Howitzers: C/1-377 FA (8), GS to the 101st Abn Div 1/11 Marines (12), 1st Marine Div 2/11 Marines (18), 1st Marine Div 3/11 Marines (18), 1st Marine Div 5/11 Marines (12), 1st Marine Div I/3/10 Marines (6) Attached to 1/11 Marines R/5/10 Marines (6) Attached to 5/11 Marines S/5/11 Marines (6) Attached to the 15th MEU F/2/10 Marines (6) Attached to the 24th MEU A/B/C/1-10 Marines (18), Task Force Tarawa 73 MLRS: 1-39 FA (12), 3d IN Div 1-27 FA (18), 41st FA Bde. V Corps 2-18 FA (19), 212th FA Bde, as part of 41st FA Bde 2-4 FA (18), 214 FA Bde, V Corps C/3-13 FA (6), 214th FA Bde, Round-Out to 1-39 FA 3 HIMARS: C/3-27 FA, 18th FA Bde (Under Control of SOF) British Field Artillery in OIF 32 AS-90 (155-mm) Self Propelled Howitzers: 3d RHA (32) (Reinforced by the 27th and 4th Regiments), Reinforced the 11th Marines (US) lnitiaity 34 L118 (105-mm) Towed Howitzers: 7th RHA (18), 1st AR Div (UK), Reinforced the 11th Marines (US) Initially 29th Commando Regiment RA (16), 1st AR Div (UK) Legend: Abn = Airborne Ar = Armored Bde = Brigade Div = Division HIMARS = High-Moblity Artillery Rocket System IN = Infantry MEU = Marine Expeditionary Unit MLRS = Multiple-Launch Rocket System RA = Royal Artillery RHA = Royal Horse Artillery SOF = Special Operations Forces UK = united Kingdom
The magnificent soldier and Marine Field Artilleryman adapted to changes while rapidly moving great distances, made critical decisions independently in decentralized de·cen·tral·ize
v. de·cen·tral·ized, de·cen·tral·iz·ing, de·cen·tral·iz·es
1. To distribute the administrative functions or powers of (a central authority) among several local authorities. operations with little or no sleep and executed fire missions with extraordinary precision in constant movements-to-contact, meeting engagements and urban operations as part of the most effective joint fires team in history. After the initial planning in Kuwait, combat was fast and fluid with minimal formal military decision making or formal fire planning and rehearsals.
The Army and Marine Field Artillery were key to combined arms operations and a major contributor to the joint fires team.
OIF Rounds Fired. Paladin and M198 155-mm rounds were effective across a wide range of missions, particularly, in destroying targets of opportunity, supporting urban operations and suppressing the enemy. The 3d ID fired almost 14,000 155-ram rounds, including more than 120 precision-guided sense and destroy armor Project Sense and Destroy ARMor, or SADARM, is a US 'smart' submunition capable of searching for, and destroying tanks within a given target area. History
The project's roots can be traced back to the early 1960s. munitions mu·ni·tion
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.
tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions. (SADARM SADARM Search And Destroy Armor
SADARM Search and Destroy Armor Munition
SADARM Selected Armor Defeating Artillery Munitions
SADARM Sense & Destroy Armament/Armor ), while the 101st Airborne Division's M198s fired 516 rounds. The 11th Marines participated in every battle in the 1st Marine Division's campaign from the Kuwaiti border to Tikrit--the only Marine regiment to do so--firing almost 20,000 M198 rounds.
1/1 0 Marines of TF Tarawa fired more than 2,000 155-mm rounds at An Nasiriyah--mostly high-explosive (HE) rounds with variable-time (VT) fuzes and improved conventional munitions Munitions characterized by the delivery of two or more antipersonnel or antimateriel and/or antiarmor submunitions by a warhead or projectile. (ICM ICM Intercom
ICM Integrated Crop Management
ICM International Congress of Mathematicians
ICM Information Classification and Management
ICM Intelligent Contact Management (Cisco)
ICM International Creative Management ), including one battalion 10-rounds of ICM. During OIF, the British fired 9,042 155-mm rounds and 13,151 105-mm rounds.
The threat was primarily the Iraqi artillery, particularly the ballistic missiles that could deliver chemical weapons against Coalition Forces. These were high-payoff targets (HPTs) in OIF.
The Army tactical missile system (ATACMS ATACMS Army Tactical Missile System
ATACMS Army Tactical Cruise Missile System
ATACMS Army Tactical Advanced Conventional Munitions System (US Army) ) unitary missiles' debut in deep operations during the 20 March opening gambit "Shock and Awe Shock and awe, technically known as rapid dominance, is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming decisive force, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of power to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and " joint fires campaign proved deadly and included attacking some long-range command and control military targets. This new long-range precision-guided unitary missile has a small circular error probable An indicator of the delivery accuracy of a weapon system, used as a factor in determining probable damage to a target. It is the radius of a circle within which half of a missile's projectiles are expected to fall. Also called CEP. (CEP CEP congenital erythropoietic porphyria.
congenital erythropoietic porphyria ) and a very promising future. Multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System (US DoD)
MLRS Multiple Launcher Rocket System
MLRS Marine Corps Long-Range Study (US DoD) ) rockets were equally effective in counterfire, helping to break the Iraqi Army's will to fight. MLRS also was employed in close support.
The total number of MLRS fired in OIF was 857 rockets. In terms of ATACMS, V Corps fired more than 400 missiles (including 13 unitary missiles), which is 10 times the number fired in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm Noun 1. Operation Desert Storm - the United States and its allies defeated Iraq in a ground war that lasted 100 hours (1991)
Gulf War, Persian Gulf War - a war fought between Iraq and a coalition led by the United States that freed Kuwait from Iraqi invaders; .
The 101st Airborne Division Artillery (Div Arty), along with the 2d Battalion, 319th Field Artillery (2-319 FA), 82d Airborne Div Arty, fired more than 4,000 105-mm rounds in close support of its maneuver forces. Most 105-mm fires were in support of light infantry in urban operations.
Maneuver commanders, once again, witnessed the lethality and precision of massed artillery rites to stop the enemy cold In the worst weather, such as the Mother of All Sandstorms the most effective fires available were artillery fires.
Enemy and Environment. Coalition Forces were victorious in OIF while facing diverse enemy forces who used asymmetrical tactics and were difficult to template. The enemy included the surprisingly fierce, at times suicidal, paramilitary forces in the south--Saddam Fedayeen fe·da·yee
n. pl. fe·da·yeen
A commando or guerrilla, especially an Arab commando operating in the Middle East.
[Arabic fid , Ba'ath Party, Al Kuts paramilitary and others. Enemy forces then ranged to the remnants of the more organized Republican Guard Divisions around Baghdad to the Special Republican Guard and Special Security Organization (SSO See single sign-on and CSO.
SSO - single sign-on ) forces defending inside of Baghdad. These forces fought with determination in their last-ditch efforts to save the regime.
For the most part, the enemy looked like civilians and sometimes shielded themselves with civilians or forced civilians to fight with them, They hid in schools, hospitals, mosques, historical sites and other locations governed by Coalition Force rules of engagement (ROE). They used low-tech to defeat our high-tech and tended to attack in small numbers from unpredictable locations, making them difficult to target and limiting the effectiveness of precision-guided munitions.
Friendly forces bad to advance north on limited avenues of approach due to the restrictive terrain and road network. The terrain west of the Euphrates River where the 3d and 101st Divisions moved in convoys was the less populated desert with surfaces ranging from hard-packed to quick-sand-like. The 1st Marine Division's convoy north on Highways 1 and 7 were surrounded by the more populated, highly irrigated farmland along the Tigris River with surfaces that could not support armored vehicles. With the rapid movement of forces north, Coalition Forces often experienced changes in both terrain and enemy forces several times a day.
FA Firsts in Combat. OIF included many "firsts" for the FA. The obvious is the fact that so much was accomplished with so little in every respect.
The FA was a critical part of the OIF joint fires team--our joint integration and effectiveness in combat made history.
The M109A6 Paladin performed magnificently as a first in combat. It consistently put rounds down range from nontraditional firing positions within two minutes after receiving the mission and was very reliable.
Additionally, this was the first time a Div Arty (3 ID) went into combat with its own general support MLRS battalion to provide deep fires and counterfire for the division--1-39 FA. This battalion fired MLRS in close support of troops.
It was also the combat debut of the high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
HIMARS Highly Mobile Artillery System ). Linked with a Q-37 radar, a HIMARS platoon provided fires for Special Operations Forces Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Military Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF. (SOF SOF
sound on film ) as they maneuvered on the western front in classified missions.With only one platoon in the Army, demand for HIMARS was high from the Coalition Forces' land, special operations and air component commands.
The precision-guided ATACMS unitary round, fired first in combat by 2-4 FA, 214th FA Brigade, during Shock and Awe, provided immediate and accurate fires against long-range critical enemy command and control targets.
The first use of SADARM in combat by 1-10 FA, 3 ID, brought cannon artillery into the precision-guided age. Maneuver commanders were elated at the precision and destruction caused by this lethal munition.
2-4 FA employed M270A1 launchers for the first time in combat. The launchers performed very well and were reliable,
One beneficial first in combat was the use of the Bradley fire support vehicle (BFIST BFIST Bradley Fire Support Team (M7 Bradley Fire Support Vehicle crew) ). This vehicle not only allowed fire supporters to execute calls-for-fires quickly, but also provided the protection and lethality fire supporters needed to move rapidly within armored formations in distributed operations.
Without a doubt, Operation Iraqi Freedom brought to the forefront that indirect fires remain the biggest force multiplier and killer on the modern battlefield.
Cannoneers and Rocketeers refused to leave their guns so they could provide continuous fires in support of their maneuver brethren. Field Artillery officers and NCOs improvised when enemy actions and terrain required a change in doctrinal procedures or established tactics, techniques or procedures, These Army and Marine Field Artillerymen truly were the keys to the success of land-based indirect fires in OIF.
Lieutenant Colonel William G. Pitts was the Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group FA Representative, gathering data in Iraq from 23 April to 15 June. He is the Chief of the Doctrine Division, Directorate of Training and Developments, at the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He also served as Advisor to the Royal Saudi Artillery in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In other assignments, he was the Executive Officer for 1st Battalion, 321st Field Artillery (Airborne), 18th Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Fort Bragg is a major United States Army installation, in Cumberland and Hoke Counties, North Carolina, U.S. , Also at Fort Bragg, he was the Assistant Fire Support Coordinator and Current Operations Officer for Me XVlll Airborne Corps. He commanded A Battery, 5th Battalion, 18th Field Artillery, part of the 75th Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Sill.